There are many monsters associated with Halloween. Besides Dracula and his kind, mummies are among the most fascinating of these. The mummies appearing in horror films and literature have many differences, but some things remain constant: they are cursed to remain alive forever. They also have a doomed romantic attraction to at least one mortal woman and a burning hatred of all other mortals that has endured for centuries.
Many people find one of the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween to be the myriad creatures associated with it. Legendary villains like Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein, and zombies of all stripes emerge on or about October 31st in the forms of costumes, films, and books. America’s tendency to associate such creatures with Halloween is so embedded in our culture that we frequently forget that most of these creatures--or at least the versions of them we best remember--are relatively recent creations that are often less than two centuries old.
In the Kingdom of Dalemark, three kings have died without an heir. The kingdom has been in chaos for generations as earl after earl vies for the throne. Bloody battles have only produced a stalemate, and now the free North and the repressive South tensely await their next war.
Sword Song by Rosemary Sutcliff
"Just go! A man with a sword need never lack the means of life--or death. If after five years you still live and you shall be free to return and take your place in the settlement again, it may be that I shall be able to stand the sight of you."
With these harsh words from his chief, Bjarni Sigurdson, a young Viking swordsman, is banished from his home.
The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli
"Don't you love it, Mother? We can shut our eyes and pretend we live in a candy house. All candy. Everywhere."
The Ugly One remembered how her child loved sweets. Asa was beautiful, and her mother tried to give her all the beauty she could though they were poor.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
No one really liked Duny. The boy was wild, proud, and full of temper-- well-suited to the company of the goats he herded. Then came the day when he overheard his aunt chanting a spell to call her goat down from the roof of her house. He remembered the rhyme and later spoke it to his own herd:
"Noth hierth malk man hiolk han merth han!"
The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris
Gawain of Orkney doesn't need a squire. He's yet to make it to King Arthur's court to be knighted, and if he does need a squire later, he has a few brothers in the hinterlands who will do. For his part, Terence was perfectly happy taking care of his foster father, the hermit Trevisant. He was a kind boy and an excellent cook, though granted a bit confused at present. Just recently the trees had started talking to him.
His Majesty's Elephant by Judith Tarr
The hue and cry outside the royal stables of the Emperor Charlemagne sounded like a battle raging to Rowan. The grooms were trying to push a gigantic elephant into one of the Emperor's old war tents, and Abul Abbas, for so the elephant was called, was having none of it.
These selections are from the Dragonflight series of fantasy novels for young adults. Dragonflight books team masters of fantasy fiction with terrific fantasy artists.
by Tanith Lee, Illustrated by Heather Cooper
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
A Covenant and a Code
Hundreds of years ago, the mysterious Hill Folk went to war with the people of Remalna to defend their groves of colortrees, whose rich hues of blue and red and gold made them valuable for trade. The Hill Folk fought back with their all of their magical powers and easily defeated their foes. At last a truce was reached. The Remalnan settlers would cut no more wood, and in exchange the Hill Folk would give magical Fire Sticks to last them the winter.